Autism: What is it?

OHS senior writes



The following information was provided

by Devin Williams, a senior at
Oneonta High School, who offered the
article as a community service to explain
autism to the public.

This dreadful condition affecting greater and greater numbers of children today is not a contagious disease, but a terrible biological neurological disorder. One in every 91 children have been diagnosed with autism, and there are an estimated one million children in the U.S. with the condition today.

Autism mainly affects a child’s social and behavioral mannerisms and can hit each so differently. A 1988 Oscar-winning film called Rain Man
tells the story of an autistic man, yet there are few people affected with autism who would ever take on the same exact traits, habits, and abilities that actor Dustin Hoffman displayed in the movie. The effects of autism which impact on a child vary over quite a wide and unpredictable range.

The earlier it is diagnosed, the better. As soon as it is found through definite indicators such as seeming deafness to verbal cues, little or no contact, and difficulty in expressing needs, direct and immediate intervention should be taken. Those diagnosed – usually boys, rather than girls – will live out normal lifespans. Some can go on to manage life on their own, while others will always need constant care.

It is certainly treatable, through methods such as diet change, oxygen chamber dives, clay baths, and speech therapy, but the source or explanation for autism is still unsure. Most believe the origin to be a chemical or substance in vaccinations dealt out at a young age.

The more we understand about autism as a community, the better off we are in dealing properly with it by helping the families affected and supporting those who are searching now for a cure.